Monday, April 27, 2020

Part 6: Now What?

The party, finally in possession of a decent lead, set sail deeper into the Southern Isles. After a few days of travel, the party saw the wreckage of an airship run aground on a small island below, with an eerily empty sea surrounding the area.

As usual, Somen Hing cast Clairvoyance to allow the party to formulate a plan, but he was unable to see anything. No blood. No corpses. Nothing to indicate any form of struggle. Besides damage to the ship following the crash landing, nothing. Naturally, the lack of anything suspicious struck the party as extremely suspicious, so Somen then cast Detect Magic to see if anything else was awry, but again, he was unable to see anything.

Halinard, seeing his goal so close, explained that although the deck seemed barren, he should be able to find the store of mythril if the crew was following proper procedure, even if something happened to the crew themselves. So he led the party below deck, taking stock of the ransacked barrels and crates in the hold. He continued further into the back, and then smirked.

"A-ha! I knew they wouldn't figure it out!."

He then knocked on part of the wall, causing it to slide out of the way, revealing a secret compartment with two chests in it. He whistled. "I figured they'd have been satisfied with all the stuff in the front of the hold and written this ship off as an unfortunate casualty in their search."

Savin, unimpressed, said, "Smuggling, Mr. Townsend?"

Halinard reeled back, saying, "Yes, but this is actually legal! It just so happens to be a commodity that I don't want getting into the wrong hands!" With a huff, he stepped forward to check inside the chest, his goal within inches of his fingers.

Unfortunately, he wouldn't live to see his goal realized, as tendrils sprung out of the chest, pulling him inside it, as a voice rang out, saying, "The Empire sends its regards."

Naturally all the players got upset, figuring he should have checked for a Mimic and wanting to find some way to save him. I guess I broke the cardinal rule of Dungeon Mastering: don't come between the PCs and the source of their money.

Anyway, the party began desperately attacking the Mimic, a bit larger than most (homebrewed Chest Mimic courtesy of D&DBeyond if anyone's wondering), trying to find a way to avoid sticking to it by using magic. Well, except for Yesmae, who struck out at the Mimic, slowly turning herself into a half-elven pretzel after accidentally smacking Jangle into a wall, after he had been grabbed by the Mimic himself.

As the fight went on, a missed shot hit a wall, and a roar of pain split the air, after which Bubbles' player shouted, "Are we fighting a Mimic inside a bigger Mimic?!"

I couldn't hold back my laughter at just how ridiculous my plan for the session had gotten.

Anyway, shortly after that, and confirming, indeed, the party was inside a giant Mimic as tendrils sprouted from the walls and started buffeting the party, Jangle got curious to see what was in the other chest. I reminded his player that, indeed, they were inside a giant Mimic, so there wouldn't likely be any treasure, and after Jangle pushed on, I confirmed that, indeed, the chest was part of the illusion the Mimic was keeping up.

It was around this time that I realized that anything touching the Mimic's surface would be stuck, so I explained my mistake to the party, who suggested that it was waiting for the party to go inside, since the second one person got stuck to the outside of the ship, the jig was up. Makes sense.

Eventually the smaller Mimic was destroyed, but Halinard was too injured to save, slowly, but surely, the party whittled down the larger one (after Somen discovered an easy exploit by Fireballing an empty area in the hold).

After the battle, the party sat together on the beach to discuss what to do now. Their sole benefactor was dead. The shipment was long gone. What now?

It was at this point that Yesmae felt it necessary to let the party in on her secret. She was, in truth, the missing princess Aveline V, heir to the Valmutian throne. When her mother started down a dark path, Yesmae fled the castle into the Western Confederation to meet with a former tutor of hers by the name of Don Chen, to train herself, body and mind, to stand against the injustices of her home kingdom. She had planned on working alongside Halinard, but that idea was shot.

Savin nodded, stating that he had his suspicions following the Doncaster incident, but opted to say nothing, leaving it up to her to reveal herself.

Somen, however, was unconvinced, and opted to cast Detect Thoughts to see if she was being dishonest. She confirmed that she was hiding nothing, and, seeing a possible opportunity to save his house, he knelt, pledging fealty to the princess as his Empress.

After some more discussion, the party boarded their airship, and they were met with Rex and Ray, Halinard's warforged. Ray started to ask if something happened, but stopped herself, and then silently walked back into her creator's office.

She returned holding an envelope. She then said, "We were instructed to give you this if something should happen the master."

Inside the envelope was a letter addressed to the party, who quickly scrambled to grab and read it. Eventually, the letter ended up in Savin's hands, and he read aloud:

To whom it may concern:
Hey guys. If you're reading this, then I guess that means that someone got to me, whether it's the empire, or pirates, or someone else. I have so many after my head at this point it's hard to keep track of them all. Regardless, consider this my last will and testament, as I can't trust any of the jokers on the mainland with this information.
I'm leaving my entire fortune and business to you. The ship, the artificial island, everything. You guys ought to be able to make better use of it than anyone else. Hing should be a good fit for running the business, but if he chooses not to, whatever. I've got nobody else to give the business to anyway. 
I'm sorry I dragged you all into my problems. I don't know what I did to deserve friends like you. I think I can rest easy knowing everything is in your hands. Rex and Ray are there to help you, as well, so make use of them. 
Also...someone take care of the cat. He's a mischievous little bastard, but he's got a good heart. 
Take care,Halinard Townsend

Closing the letter, the party sat in silence, which Ray broke by suggesting that the ship needed a name.

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